Buying a Custom Boat Tips

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What are the benefits of owning a custom boat?

Benefits and risks of custom boat ownership

One major issue of buying a custom boat from a small scale boat manufacturer is the possibility of the company going out of business. If that were to happen, any future issues you have with the boat could not be assessed by the factory. If you pay $300,000 for a custom boat and your engine blows a month after the company goes out of business, you are stuck with litigation when you want to be on the water. It's something to consider when looking to buy a custom boat

If you were to look at a slightly bigger boat manufacturer, like Malibu Boats and Hinckley, they are established enough that the possibility of a closure is slim. By purchasing from a company that's moderately sized, you get the security of a valid warranty and fringe benefits offered to the customers. To give an example, Malibu Boats have a program called Club Malibu. This club is an exclusive benefit offered only to owners of Malibu Boats. It features a magazine, member-only activities, boat insurance, discounts and other great benefits. These types of companies are not only able to sell you a boat, but also a lifestyle.

What are some manufacturers that offer custom boats?

What Manufacturers Offer Custom Boats?

There are many different custom boat manufacturers. If you are looking to get a custom boat here are a few that are very good

Hinckley Company, Maine: This company produces high-end luxury sailboats and power cruisers. They have been in business since the 1920s. This company's reputation is world-renowned.

Wilber Yacht Company, Maine: This company produces cabin cruisers up to 61' in length. They have been in business for the past 30 years and have produced about 200 boats.

Stingray Boats, South Carolina: You don't need to pay more than $100,000 for a custom boat. Take Stingray Boats. This company's most expensive boat, fully loaded, is about $75,000. If you customized the base model, it wouldn't exceed $35,000. The website has an online tool to select options and find out prices.

Malibu Boats, Nationwide: Some companies, like Malibu Boats, may produce quality factory line boats, but they do offer many options to make the boat you own custom with negligible additional cost.

The preceding list of boat manufacturers is just a sample of what is out there. Do a search online for boat builders or custom boats and you can find even more.

What should I look for in a boat dealer?

Buying Boats: New, Used, And Dealers

Did you know that many used boats come with added features that will cost you more to have if you buy a new boat? Here are some things to consider when deciding between a new and used boat:

  • You'll save money initially if you buy a used boat, but you will have to make sure you are prepared to spend some along the way on repairs and necessary upgrades.
  • A new boat will have the added benefit of a full warranty.
  • Buying a boat at a showroom will allow you to compare features and designs side by side.
  • Buying a new boat may be considered less of a risk to financial institutions who are financing the purchase. That may mean you'll pay a lower down payment and less in interest for a new boat.

What are the potential implications of buying a custom boat

Downsides to Owning a Custom Boat

So you've decided you want a custom boat. Have you considered the potential downsides? Custom boats are expensive. There are many boat builders who are able to retire after only building a few boats. Boat building is a very skilled profession and demands a premium price. Depending upon the boat design, many aspects to a custom boat are unique to only that boat. There are very few aspects of the boat that allow you to take a broken part, run to a boat supply yard and buy another. It may need to be custom made, for twice the cost of what a standard unit would run.

Another downside doesn't seem like a negative aspect until you get the finished product: the type of boat. There are 10 times as many boat plans available as there are boat builders to build boats. You may think you want one type, but when the vessel is delivered two years later, you may realize you actually would have liked the smaller, less expensive version better.

These are things you need to think about. Custom boats are for the decisive and require extensive forethought and consideration of where you will be in life when it's ready to sail.

What exactly is a custom boat?

What Makes a Custom Boat?

Custom boats are all about uniqueness, quality and owning something no one else has. So what makes a boat “custom?” It could be elements like your own decals, equipment or tinted windows. For those individuals who lack the ability or drive to personally customize their own boats, some boat manufacturers offer customization services. Certain things like diamond hulls, chrome exhaust pipes, upgraded stereos, custom embroidered carpeting and custom coloring are available at a small cost over MSRP. In many cases, this form of customization is actually cheaper because the manufacturer already has pre-made accessories available and ready to sell.

Tips to make a boat custom:

  1. Apply decals and tint windows
  2. Add performance products (better pitch prop, free-flow exhaust)
  3. Upgrade dash area and electronics
  4. Custom Paint Job
  5. Hull modifications

Where do I find a custom boat?

Where to Find and How Much to Pay for a Custom Boat

A custom boat is the ultimate form of expression on the water. There is no better way of getting exactly what you want than to order it yourself. Custom boats not only have your own personal exclusivity, but because they are all one of a kind, they're usually of better quality than a traditional factory line boat.

All types of boats can be custom. The amount of customization is up to you and how much you want to spend. There are boat manufacturers that offer customizing of their factory line boats, there are other boat dealers that build the boat from scratch based on your specifications.

The price range is based on the amount of customization you want. Hinckley Boat builders, based in Maine, make custom boats that can take more than two years to complete. The quality is magnificent, but the price can be hefty. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people who work along the coast who will install tinted glass, decals, nicer upholstery, upgraded electronics and custom dashes and the total cost will not exceed $1,000.

If you can afford to get your own custom boat, your options are limited to your finances. If you want a custom boat, but can't afford to get one made personally, they are available used for approximately 50 percent off of the retail value. You can also customize a factory boat to your personal specifications for considerably less.

What do Malibu boat builders focus on?

Safety Signals From Your Boat Manufacturer

Safe boat owners take the time to ensure they have safety equipment on board, and even check the expiration date of their distress signals. But, did you know that—even if the flare has not expired—it may not work? Due to damp conditions, safety devices may fail just when you need them most. To avoid this dangerous situation, check your flares--if there is moisture inside, they will likely not work. It's advisable to buy new flares and keep them in a waterproof container. Make sure to check your spares often to ensure they did not get wet.

Why should I purchase a Malibu Boat?

Buying New vs. Used Boats

Some boat owners choose to buy a used boat. There are many used boats on the market of all kinds, sizes and with a variety of features already built in. If you are considering buying a used boat, you should always ask for the maintenance record of the previous owner. If it's not available, you may want to continue looking. There are additional warning signs that a used boat is not one you'll want to own:

*There are places on the exterior with mismatched paint. This may signal a previous boat accident.

*The keel does not run in a true straight line. This may be a sign of shoddy repair.

*There are soft spots on the floors.

*There is not good water flow when the engine is started.

*The upholstery is damaged. This may indicate a former owner was careless.

Taking time to adequately check out a boat, or hiring a professional to do it for you, can save you countless unhappy hours as a new boat owner.

Why should I choose a boat with a diamond hull?

Finding A Diamond In The Rough Seas

While you are out on the open water enjoying the boating season, you probably don't pay much attention to the potential damage that might be caused by water seeping into your boat. But, one of the most important off-season maintenance procedures you can follow is eliminating built-up water in areas such as:

*traps under sinks

*sea cocks


*holding tanks

*any other area that could be hiding even a small area of water.

If left untreated, this hidden water can cause serious damage to your boat over the winter.

What is Club Malibu?

Boat Costs And Memberships

The first thing you'll need to decide when buying a boat is what your monthly budget will allow. There are a range of prices to consider—from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars—based on the size, features and uses of a particular boat. Fortunately, many entry-level or "beginner" boats are quite affordable and some cost even less than $200 per month.

But, when buying a boat you must consider additional costs, too. Here are a few additional things you should be prepared to pay for or buy:

*Accessories for the boat including life jackets, horns, monitoring systems and gear associated with skiing or boarding.

*Storage for the boat including renting space at a rack facility or a marina slip.

*Insurance for your boat that will vary according to length and type, cost and coverage options.

Who is a leading boat manufacturer?

Boat Manufacturer

The United States Coast Guard maintains a database of all recreational boat manufacturers and U.S. importers of boats in the country. You can search the database for any of these boat manufacturers and find the company name, address, phone number and operating status. Search by company name, city, state or hull identification numbers.

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Guru Spotlight
Mary White